Seattle Film Fest 2009: Spike Lee Honored

April 15, 2009 — SIFF will present the 2009 Golden Space Needle Award for Outstanding Achievement in Directing to Spike Lee, in recognition of his extraordinary filmmaking career. This special Tribute ceremony at the 35th Seattle International Film Festival will include a montage of clips highlighting his diverse work as a director and pioneer of contemporary cinema, followed by a screening of Passing Strange, Lee's original visualization of the celebrated Broadway hit. Prior to the screening, Spike Lee will take the stage for an in-depth interview and a Q&A session with the audience. This special Tribute event will take place Saturday, May 23, at the Egyptian Theatre.

“It is a great privilege for us to present this award to Spike Lee in Seattle,” says SIFF Artistic Director Carl Spence. “As someone in the prime of his career with a dynamic body of work to his credit, Spike truly deserves this honor. Seattle audiences will be delighted to be part of this tribute to a gifted filmmaker and genuine cultural icon.”

Spike Lee's breakout hit, She's Gotta Have It established the director (and sometime actor) as an electrifying new voice on its sensational release in 1986. His vibrant exploration of race on a sweltering summer day in Do the Right Thing earned Lee an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay in 1990, securing his position as a filmmaker who has something to say and creates terrific entertainment at the same time. With a keen eye for the comedic and dramatic nuances of sexual and racial politics, Lee continued to stretch himself with musicals, historical narratives, crime thrillers, and uncompromising documentaries that carried the authoritative stamp of an American auteur. Spike Lee “joints” such as School Daze, Mo' Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, Crooklyn, Clockers, Get on the Bus, Four Little Girls, He Got Game, Summer of Sam, Bamboozled, Inside Man, When the Levees Broke, and Miracle at St. Anna have earned their rightful place as important films in the pantheon of American cinema.